Online Course Development Process

All Online Asynchronous courses are required to complete the online course development process before they can be offered online. (See the Registrar's Office for modes of instruction definitions.) The development of an online course is a multi-step process that involves department nomination, CEL approval, design and development, initial Beta Testing, department sign-off on course content, and review during the first semester of delivery.

Online Course Development Nomination Form

The nomination form alerts the chair of the intent to put a course online. The CEL Director must approve all online courses especially those where faculty are requesting a development stipend. Courses are not automatically funded for online development because a distance delivery need must be shown.

The following recommendations are provided for transparent faculty management of the online course design process, course rigor, and effectiveness:
  • Have faculty that teach the course (on-campus and online) meet beforehand and agree on key essential curricula materials, learning goals, and pedagogical approach.
  • Once the course storyboard is complete, have the faculty member present the storyboard to the department. The department can sign off on the basic structure, design, and sequence of the course.
  • Once the beta test report is received by the department, include all faculty that teach the course (on-campus and online) in the final review.
This process may lengthen and complicate the design-to-approval process; however, it will:
  • provide positive academic oversight of online courses,
  • provide a means to assure online offering are coherent, cohesive, and comparable in academic rigor to programs offered on-campus,
  • provide a means to assure learning goals are the same across academic settings and achieved,
  • provide a foundation for the assessment of learning goals across academic settings.

The outline (sometimes referred to as storyboard) is used to plan out how teaching and learning will be accomplished in a specific online course. It also serves as a plan of action for the design team, which includes the faculty member, instructional designer, and instructional media specialist. Once the outline passes evaluation by OIT, OIT will create a development shell for the new course.

The outline can take many forms (from poster boards to Power Point) depending on how you like to plan. Once you have completed the outline, you will meet with Douglas Tiedman in OIT to discuss your plan for the course and training you might need depending on your prior experience with Blackboard and related technologies. This meeting can be completed either remotely or face to face at your convenience.

The outline must:

  • show the core components of the course
  • reflect the overall structure of the course
  • show the sequence and connectivity of all course activities
  • outline the various methods of assessment
  • outline the technologies by used across the course

Creating an Outline

The next step is to begin building your course. Faculty members will work with OIT in the design and development of the course. Development must be completed approximately six weeks before the start of the first semester’s offering.

Beta Test Deadlines

  • Fall – July 15
  • Spring – November 30
  • Summer – April 15

Minimum Engagement Standards

Online Course Design Guides

The course is beta tested for ADA compliance, best practices for online delivery, course tool and design compliance, minimum engagement standards, institutional policies, and compliance with the North Dakota University System FERPA and intellectual property policies. This review is based on guidelines provided by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC) guidelines. The faculty member will work with OIT to make the required changes listed in the Beta Test report.

Beta Test Report Template

The department reviews the course content to verify compliance with department standards and learning objectives. OIT will send the Beta Test report to the department chair or department designee. The department is responsible for working with the faculty member to review the beta test report. If the department is not satisfied with the course content, they will work with the course designer and/or OIT to make necessary changes. If the department is satisfied that the course meets department standards, they will sign a form approving the quality and rigor of the course and stating that it meets the department learning objectives. The form is returned to the CEL Director for final review.

CEL will pay a development stipend for online course development for courses where a distance delivery need has been shown. The stipend amounts are based on a 3-credit course and will be prorated for other courses. The stipend will be divided if two or more faculty members are working together on the same course.
New Online Course Development Stipend: $1,000
Online Course Redevelopment Stipend: $500

The first portion of the stipend will be released once the department has approved the content and the course has been scheduled. The final portion of the stipend will be released at the end of the pilot semester.

Stipends are available only for courses that are online asynchronous. Synchronous and hybrid/blended courses are not eligible. Faculty must complete the online course development process to qualify for a stipend.

The course will be piloted the first semester it is taught in the online environment. Approximately three weeks after the start of the semester or session, students are asked to voluntarily complete a course design survey. Survey feedback will be shared with the designer, OIT, and the Director of CEL. The designer should review the feedback collected in the design survey to determine if any changes need to be made in the course. Once any corrective actions are addressed and corrected on the design survey, the course is fully approved to be offered online and the final portion of the stipend will be released.